University of Wyoming student Emma Norsworthy participates in barrel racing at CNFR. (Hudson Pullen, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — The College National Final Rodeo, or CNFR, witnessed a historic attendance this year at the Ford Wyoming Center, with the Saturday session selling out for the first time.

According to Sarah Neely of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, over 29,000 tickets were distributed.

“We were thrilled to see the Ford Wyoming Center celebrating the success of so many college rodeo athletes this year,” Neely said. She added that Casper consistently offers a warm welcome to the schools and contestants.

Tyler Daugherty, CEO of Visit Casper, confirmed the significance of the sold-out event.

“This is the first time, from my understanding, in the event’s history,” Daugherty remarked.

Beyond direct ticket sales, the event brought considerable economic benefits to Natrona County. An estimated direct spending of $2,307,321 was injected into the local economy during CNFR week.

However, the event’s economic influence doesn’t end there. Luke Gilliam, Director of Sales & Development at Visit Casper, emphasized the lasting indirect impact. While exact figures are hard to calculate, Gilliam estimates the indirect spending throughout June and the summer could be between $4 million and $10 million.

As the dust settles, it’s clear that CNFR’s success this year extended far beyond the rodeo arena, leaving a lasting positive impact on Casper’s economy.